Bob Dylan

Born 24 May 1941.
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Van Morrisson and Bob Dylan - Foreign Window

Van Morrison and Bob Dylan perform Foreign Window in Greece, taken from the Arena documentary of 1992 One Irish Rover.

Featured in BBC Music Clips


Bob Dylan (born Robert Allen Zimmerman, May 24, 1941) is an American singer-songwriter, artist, and writer. He has been an influential figure in popular music and culture for more than five decades. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s, when he was both a chronicler and a reluctant figurehead of social unrest. A number of Dylan's early songs, such as "Blowin' in the Wind" and "The Times They Are a-Changin'", became anthems for the US civil rights and anti-war movements. Leaving behind his initial base in the culture of the folk music revival, Dylan's six-minute single "Like a Rolling Stone" radically altered the parameters of popular music in 1965. His mid-1960s recordings, backed by rock musicians, reached the top end of the U.S. music charts while also attracting denunciation and criticism from others in the folk movement.

Dylan's lyrics have incorporated a variety of political, social, philosophical, and literary influences. They defied existing pop music conventions and appealed hugely to the then burgeoning counterculture. Initially inspired by the performance style of Little Richard, and the songwriting of Woody Guthrie, Robert Johnson, and Hank Williams, Dylan has both amplified and personalized musical genres. His recording career, spanning fifty years, has explored many of the traditions in American song—from folk, blues, and country to gospel, rock and roll, and rockabilly to English, Scottish, and Irish folk music, embracing even jazz and swing. Dylan performs with guitar, keyboards, and harmonica. Backed by a changing line-up of musicians, he has toured steadily since the late 1980s on what has been dubbed the Never Ending Tour. His accomplishments as a recording artist and performer have been central to his career, but his greatest contribution is generally considered his songwriting.

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Member Of


  • Founded Dwarf Music, Ram's Horn Music, Big Sky Music and Special Rider Music

Personal Relationships

BBC Reviews

  1. Review of Tempest

    Tempest 2012

    Reviewed by Sid Smith
    Songs blessed with a wry and dusty charm, but Dylan is too often on auto-pilot here.
  2. Review of The Original Mono Recordings / The Best of the Original Mono Recordings

    The Original Mono Recordings / The Best of the Original Mono Recordings 2010

    Reviewed by Sean Egan
    The first opportunity to experience these ‘director’s cuts’ for four decades.
  3. Review of The Witmark Demos: 1962-1964 (The Bootleg Series Vol. 9)

    The Witmark Demos: 1962-1964 (The Bootleg Series Vol. 9) 2010

    Reviewed by Sean Egan
    Any listener will be bowled over by the best of the new material.
  4. Review of Christmas in the Heart

    Christmas in the Heart 2009

    Reviewed by Nigel Smith
    Indulge Dylan his whims and this is worth a spin come Christmas morn.
  5. Review of Together Through Life

    Together Through Life 2009

    Reviewed by Chris Jones
    Together Through Life isn't a classic but it's no Self Portrait either.
  6. Review of Tell Tale Signs

    Tell Tale Signs 2008

    Reviewed by Chris Jones
    Beautiful, brave and beguiling.
  7. Review of Modern Times

    Modern Times 2006

    Reviewed by Chris Jones
    'Modern Times' is the exception that proves Bob's recent assertion that most modern...
  8. Review of No Direction Home: The Soundtrack

    No Direction Home: The Soundtrack 2005

    Reviewed by Chris Jones
    By the closing cut you feel like you've travelled as far as Bob had in one short decade.
  9. Review of Love And Theft

    Love And Theft 2004

    Reviewed by Chris Jones
    It seems the weight of four years anticipation has produced what is now being termed...
  10. Review of Live 1975

    Live 1975 2002

    Reviewed by Chris Jones
    If you've got friends who claim not to like Dylan, play them this. If they don't like...
  11. Review of Blood On The Tracks

    Blood On The Tracks 1975

    Reviewed by Chris Jones
    It’s a world-weary, nostalgic and ultimately more poetic Dylan we hear...
  12. Review of Blonde On Blonde

    Blonde On Blonde 1966

    Reviewed by Sid Smith
    ...Dylan is utterly at ease with himself here.
  13. Review of Highway 61 Revisited

    Highway 61 Revisited 1965

    Reviewed by Sid Smith
    Shows a newly liberated Dylan.
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